Adamantium is a fictional metallic or crystalline substance which has seen extensive use in comics, cartoons and video games. It is so named because the word "adamant," meaning unbreakable, or adamantine combined with the neo-Latin suffix "ium" resembles the naming form of many chemical elements. In its classical form, adamantium refers to any unbreakable or impenetrable object. However most commonly, adamantium is used as the name of an invulnerable fictional element or substance.
Marvel Comics Adamantium
is a fictional chemical substance
and metal alloy
in the Marvel Comics
universe. Adamantium is one of the most durable substances ever to be created by Earth science. The chemical and metallurgical processes needed to create it are incredibly difficult to achieve, exceedingly expensive, and its creation process is known to only a very few organizations, individuals, and governments in the Marvel Universe. Adamantium is, most famously, the metal bonded to Wolverine
's entire skeleton. It first appeared in Avengers
#66 (July 1969).
History and properties of adamantium in the Marvel Universe
Adamantium is first created by metallurgist
Dr. Myron McClain during the late 1960s in an attempt to recreate the unique Vibranium
-steel alloy of Captain America's shield
, though adamantium contains no vibranium. While McClain is unable to duplicate the process or discover the unknown element that created the alloy, he does create a material that is very similar on a molecular level and is almost as durable. Adamantium is created by mixing several chemical resins
together; the exact formula is a secret. After the resins are mixed together, the adamantium can be molded into different shapes for approximately eight minutes as long as the mixture is kept at a temperature of 1,500 °F
). Adamantium's extremely stable molecular structure prevents it from being further molded after this eight-minute time period even if the temperature is high enough to keep it in its liquified form.
Adamantium is astronomically expensive to create and the process is unreliable, often resulting in an inferior grade since the chemical resins mixed to create adamantium are a carefully guarded secret. As a result, supervillains almost never try to create it but seek instead to harvest it from existing sources and rearrange it on a molecular level: Apocalypse has harvested adamantium from Sabretooth, and Genesis has harvested adamantium from Cyber.
Walter Simonson planned for Apocalypse to be the mastermind behind the Weapon X project that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton. In Wolverine: Jungle Adventure (1990), Wolverine discovers an adamantium laced skull in Apocalypse's laboratory, and comments how it seem to have been there for eons. Since Simonson' plans apparently never came to conclusion, the scene possibly suggests that Apocalypse developed the technology to bond adamantium to bones centuries before anyone else.
Types of adamantium
True adamantium is created through the mixing of certain chemical resins (defined only as "three closely related iron compounds") whose composition is classified as a highest possible level U.S. government top secret, although it has been said that the U.S. has shared the secret of adamantium's creation process with "certain of its allies" (sic). This process is almost prohibitively expensive and True adamantium is very rare as a result. True Adamantium is nearly as strong as Captain America's shield and is, to all intents and purposes, indestructible. Adamantium's durability is somewhat dependent on its thickness. For example, a sufficient amount can survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon as well as solar flares.
As true adamantium is extremely difficult and expensive to create or manipulate, some parties found a way to duplicate it on a larger and more cost-effective scale at the expense of quality and durability. For most practical purposes, this Secondary adamantium is also largely indestructible. Conventional weapons, such as ballistic missiles, have no effect on it; it is far stronger than even the most durable of titanium steel compounds. However, extraordinary blunt force, such as a punch from a being with superhuman strength, can warp or break it. Unconventional forms of energy discharges have also been known to warp or damage Secondary adamantium, such as Thor
's lightning attacks using Mjolnir
. Writers created Secondary adamantium to deal with supposedly indestructible adamantium having been damaged or destroyed in the past; all such instances were retconned
as appearances of Secondary adamantium.
Adamantium beta is a new metal created as a side-effect of the process of bonding True adamantium to Wolverine's bones. His Healing Factor
not only allowed him to survive the process, but also induced a molecular change in the metal. Adamantium beta functions identically to True adamantium, but it does not inhibit the biological processes of bone
. Adamantium beta was first explained in Wolverine
(vol.2) #80 (1994).
Carbonadium is a resilient, unstable metal that is vastly stronger than steel but more flexible than adamantium. It is stated in X-Men
vol.2 #7 that carbonadium is, in fact, both a more malleable
and cheaper version of adamantium. Due to its malleability, carbonadium is less durable than true adamantium, but still nearly indestructible. Omega Red
(an adversary of The X-Men
) has carbonadium coils through which he can transmit his ability to drain life energies. Carbonadium is highly radioactive
and a very small amount, if ingested, has proven capable of dramatically slowing down Wolverine's healing factor
. The only device that can produce Carbonadium, known as the Carbonadium Synthesizer, was initially believed thrown into a river in Brussels
by Wolverine; it has since been revealed that the Carbonadium Synthesizer had been hidden on the deceased body of a double-agent who died escaping Omega Red along with Wolverine, Sabretooth and Maverick
. The synthesizer was retrieved and handed back to Maverick, whose mission was to retrieve the item for parties unknown. Carbonadium is also the only known substance that can slow down a mutant healing factor, such as Wolverine's, Sabertooth's, X-23's, and others' of the sort.
In X-Men #191, when confronting Wolverine, one of the Children of the Vault named Serafina claims that Adamantium has thirteen allotropes, all of which are "unstable, and short-lived, but virulently poisonous". She throws a small device that clamps onto his claws and makes them glow green, claiming that it is Adamantium Nine. This causes Wolverine to become stricken, incoherent and collapse.
Adamantium as key component
Adamantium is used as the key component in several instances in the Marvel Universe, including:
Durability of adamantium
While often referred to as indestructible or unbreakable, it is possible for it to be destroyed through very specific circumstances. True adamantium can be destroyed through very precise molecular rearrangement, such as being altered by Thanos
while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet
. True adamantium's molecular structure can also be altered by Antarctic vibranium
, also known as anti-metal, as it has the capability to liquify all known metallic substances, including adamantium.
There are at least two known examples of true adamantium within the Earth-616 reality sustaining damage without molecular manipulation. The first involves Thor focusing all of his strength into striking a small cylinder of adamantium with Mjolnir, which is only slightly dented. The second incident involves a battle between Ultron and the Incredible Hulk. During the fight, the Hulk punches the robot with enough force to slightly dent it.
Within the Earth-1610 reality, otherwise known as the Ultimate Marvel Universe, adamantium also exists but there is evidence that brings into question the status of adamantium as "unbreakable" or "indestructible" in comparison with the Earth-616 version. There is an example of the Ultimate Marvel version of Wolverine being ripped in half by the Ultimate Marvel version of the Hulk. Within the same issue, a question was raised by another character as to whether Wolverine's joints were bonded with adamantium. As to whether the connective tissues between Wolverine's joints are torn, the adamantium was damaged, or both isn't fully known as the Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk mini-series has met with numerous delays. There is also an instance of the Hulk breaking a needle made of adamantium. During the initial appearances of the Ultimate Marvel Universe's version of Sabretooth, it is revealed that he has four retractable adamantium claws implanted within each of his forearms. Through circumstances that have yet to be explained, one of the claws implanted within Sabretooth's left forearm is broken. There is also at least one known incident of adamantium within the Earth-1610 reality being damaged by conventional weaponry. In a memory flashback, the Ultimate Marvel version of Nick Fury recalls an adamantium cage containing Wolverine is shelled and destroyed during Operation: Desert Storm. The Ultimate Marvel version Lady Deathstrike also has an adamantium-laced skeleton, and claimed to be indestructible on one occasion. Nonetheless, when she is grabbed in a stranglehold by Longshot, he manages to snap her neck. More recently is an incident involving Apocalypse and Wolverine. As the two battle, Apocalypse rips Wolverine's right arm completely off, though it is later reconnected as Phoenix alters reality. These facts have sparked heated debate and controversy among comic book fans and Marvel Comics hasn't provided an explanation for the noticeable difference in the durability of the two versions.
Properties of adamantium in the Ultimate Marvel Universe
Little is known about the UMU version of adamantium. Among the most notable information yet to be revealed includes when adamantium is first created, the person or persons responsible for first creating it, and any of the properties and processes used in creating it.
Only one form of adamantium has been seen in the Ultimate Universe thus far. It is currently unknown whether or not any other versions of adamantium exist, as they do in the Earth-616 reality.
Adamantium in the UMU is highly durable and is able to effectively protect a person's mind from telepathic probing or attacks, a property that the Earth-616 version lacks completely. It has been shown as a component of the claws and skeleton of the Ultimate Wolverine and Ultimate Lady Deathstrike. The UMU's version of Sabretooth's natural claws are bonded with adamantium and he possesses four retractable claws similar to those of Wolverine implanted in his forearms. The shield of Ultimate Captain America is entirely comprised of adamantium.
In other media
- In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Adamantium is a super-hard alloy used by the Imperium of Man in the construction of weapons and armour. Notably, the Black Dragons Space Marines Chapter sheathes mutated bone growths in Adamantium to use them as close combat weapons. Also, Tactical Dreadnought Armor is said to be made from plates of Adamantium in addition to other forms of protection, to make it all but impenetrable.
- It is also found in Blizzard's World of Warcraft as the Ornate Adamantium Breastplate. There was a mineable variation of Adamantium known as Adamantite added in the Burning Crusade expansion pack.
- Adamantium armor and weapons can be found in The Elder Scrolls Series.
- Adamantium armor is a form of armor in the PlayStation 2 game Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal.
- In Two Worlds there are two available Earth Magic spells with adamantium references. These spells are Summon Adamantium Golem (the strongest summon in the game), and Adamantium Shield.
- In the Massively Multiplayer Online Browser RPG Runescape it is possible to mine Adamantite Ore and smith it into Adamant weaponry and armor. The Adamantite armor and weapons are only the fourth best, the first being Barrows and Third Age metals.
- In Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 Adamantine is described as "an ultra hard metal found only in meteorites and the rares veins in magical areas", weighing the same as steel, and able to cut through any lesser material with ease.
- Adamantium Armor is the second strongest type of armor in the Master of Orion series.
- In the MMORPG MapleStory, Adamantium is a mineral ore that can be processed to Adamantium plates in use to forge some equipment.
- In the RPG game Rage of Mages 1,2 the second strongest and most powerful set of weapons and armor is made of Admantium. It has a pink/violet color scheme.
- In Age Of Mythology,the gates of Tartarus fashioned by Zeus to seal Kronos is made of Adamantium.
- In Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Adamantium is the Ultra Rare element for tier 5 blacksmith recipes.
- In the MMORPG Star Sonata, many high end items are built using Adamantium Sheets, these are refined from Adamantium Ore. A fairly common use for these sheets is 'Adamantiumized' Base Gear.
- In nearly all the Final Fantasy games as unrefined metal or a piece of shell from a giant turtle called Adamantiose.
- As with his comics counterpart, the X-Men film series version of Wolverine also possesses adamantium in his skeleton and claws. In X2: X-Men United, liquid adamantium was seen boiling in a tub. (William Stryker mentioned that the "tricky thing with adamantium is, you gotta keep it hot.") The X2 version of Deathstrike is also shown to have adamantium claws that are extruded from the tips of her fingers (Wolverine's are sheathed in his forearms and released between his knuckles).
- In the 1956 Science Fiction film Forbidden Planet, Doctor Morbius mentions "Adamantium Steel", predating any mention of the substance in Marvel Comics.
- In the Marvel Comics animated feature Ultimate Avengers, Captain America's shield is composed of an adamantium/vibranium alloy.
- In the 1998 film Lost In Space, the spider-like organisms are described as having an "Adamantium shell". The organisms were destroyed by exposure to a nuclear fusion explosion.
- In the Iron Man movie (2008) Adamantium was used to fashion an exclusive bullet used in the Iron Man Suit's ballistics.
- In the Samurai Jack episode Jack and the Ultra-robots, the assassin robots are said to be made of Adamantium.
- In the British TV comedy Green Wing season 1, Martin Dear argues with Dr. "Mac" Macartney, that his next vespa helmet will be from Adamantium.